Whenever I go to a Taco Bell drive-thru, my favorite thing to say is, “Fire!”, after the employee at the window asks me which taco sauce I wanna get.
For those who may not have a Taco Bell fast food joint in their neighborhood, the taco sauce choices are Mild, Hot, and Fire. I believe there’s Habanero too. But I always choose the firey one.
Some of ya might be thinkin’ why there wouldn’t be a Taco Bell in one’s town, considering that they’re pretty much everywhere, nowadays. Like McDonald’s.
I had sure thought that way as well, years ago. But that was before I had visited the island of Palau. This island in the Pacific is popular to tourists for their deep sea diving and for folks to be able to swim among nondeadly (unzapping) live jellyfish.
Several years ago, some co-workers and I went to that island for a short trip. The flight to there usually arrives during the evening time. But on that day, we had arrived even later in the evening than usual, due to our flight having been delayed.
All was dark and quiet outside of the airport. I couldn’t see much at all outta the car windows either, during our drive to our hotel/motel. My tummy was growling, just as loudly as everyone else’s was in the car. One of ’em asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner. I asked if we could just go to a McDonald’s drive-thru, so that I could be chompin’ on french fries ASAP. That’s when several of the gang replied to me all together, “There’s no McDonald’s here”.
I looked out the car’s window silently, as everything passed by in a dark blur. No McDonald’s? None? What? Where am I?
Remember that TV show, in which a group of people get placed on a primitive area to live off of its waters and land? Where they start whacking and stabbing at the fish with a stick that they had carved to have a sharp end? Was it called Survivor? Well, the island of Palau had been one of the locations featured on that show.
When we had arrived at the hotel, we threw our luggages into the rooms, and quickly headed out to look for an open restaurant nearby. Within a few minutes, we had found one, which was brightly lighted inside. Everyone chatted happily together, as the loud music played. I, though, was focused on trying to keep my body staying in an upright seated position, in case I might possibly fall to the side, and onto the floor, from being so hungry.
The person to the left of me ordered a humongous fried fish. The person to the right of me ordered the fruit bat. I ordered fried pork chops.
For those of ya who have never seen a fruit bat before, it’s a bat. Like Batman’s pets. It’s called a “fruit” one because it lives off of eating fruits. (But I betcha they still fly down to swipe a field mouse as a snack, though.)
How a fruit bat dish in Palau (and in the surrounding islands) looks like:
- the bat is a dark, blackish color
- its face looks like a rat and it has claw-like hands and feet
- its teeth are sharp and bared out, like fangs
- its expression looks pissed off, like it was cursing the trapper who had caught it
- it’s laying on its back, so that it’s floating on a black-colored soupy liquid in a big bowl
- its wings are still intact and still looking wingy (I figured they’d melt or get tattered during its boiling process, but I guess not)
I tried to keep my eyes looking either to the left of me, or to the front of me. Cuz I couldn’t bear to see how the fella on my right was gonna chomp down on his batty dish.
The dude on my left had finished his humongous fried fish within minutes. I tell ya, it looked like a cat had eaten it. Only the center spine bone remained on his plate. No head, no tail, no fins. The dude had eaten all of those parts in their entirety.
Yup, my fellow travelers were serious animal eaters, for reals. Good thing we were on an island, and not on a frozen mountain where there were avalanches. What movie was it, where the folks whose plane had crashed in the blizzardy mountains had ended up eating each other cuz they were starving? Was it called Alaska? Oy.